With 2012 now in our rearview mirror, many experts like the direction that West Michigan’s economy is going in. There are articles all over about how these analysts think that Downtown Grand Rapids will continue its growth, that West Michigan brewers will continue to expand, and that West Michigan as a whole will continue to break out of the Great Recession. So let the good times come for you individually, right? Not so fast. While there might be positives for the local community on the horizon that does not automatically translate to success for you and you still need to make your own breaks. So how do you do that?
Danny Meyer started out with one restaurant in New York City. Meyer admits that he had no idea about running a business citing the numerous business errors he made early on like buying too much wine as well as point out his business ineptness such as not being able to read a profit and loss sheet or really knowing what cash flow was. Despite being far from a MBA graduate, Meyer was able to grow his one restaurant into a large number of cafes, restaurants and entities all over the world including 5 of the top 20 restaurants in New York City.
Meyer accredits all of his success to two things he did right early on with his business. The first was the team of people he surrounded himself with. Putting together a team that wanted to improve the business and was willing to pursue the same vision was the recipe for success.
The second was developing one unified vision that separated Meyer’s restaurant from the hundreds of other places in New York City. Meyer’s team pushed to provide its customers with the best service possible. They wanted every patron to feel special when they came into their establishment.
Those lessons translate to any small business owner or entrepreneur with a startup regardless if you are in New York City or right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The team you have around you will not only support your business but they will pick up the slack for your weaknesses. You should do what you do best and have other handle the rest of the small business’ needs. At the same time, having that one thing that separates you from the rest of your competitors is vital. If you are the same as everyone else out there then you are just a name in a hat and hope that customers or clients select you. But if you can define yourself as different, while that might not appeal to ever potential customer, there will be some that are drawn in and return because of that.
With the New Year it’s a great time to take stock of what you have. Do you have the best team around you? What differentiates you from the crowd? There are likely changes that can be made whether big or small. But those changes can mean that you are part of the West Michigan economic recovery and not just a bystander.
Source: “My First Year in Business--The 2 Most Important Lessons” an interview with Danny Meyer by Inc.'s Scott Gerber.